Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A tradition falls

My family and I will be in Ohio Stadium this Saturday afternoon for the 2009 Ohio State football Spring Game, the annual intra-squad scrimmage that caps off-season practice.

We'll be cheering for neither the Scarlet team nor the Gray -- we'll be rooting for the training staff. Honestly, it's pretty boring as football games go, but when admission to The 'Shoe costs just five bucks, we're there.

Most important, it's our tradition.

When OSU's regular season kicks off on September 5th, however, one KintlaLake gameday tradition will be missing.

March 30, 2009

Dear Hineygate Fan:

The Holiday Inn on Lane Avenue in Columbus, Ohio, is no longer.

This Columbus institution has been purchased by the real estate arm of The Ohio State University, called Campus Partners. It intends to use the hotel for student housing, thus prohibiting us from carrying on with our 26-year gameday tradition known as 610 WTVN’s Hineygate.

We had a number of discussions with the Campus Partners organization with the intention of forming a partnership in order to continue to provide a safe, fun gathering place before and after every Ohio State home football game.

Unfortunately, this simply wasn't of interest to them.

To a few, Hineygate was merely a beer bash for rowdy fans before and after the game. Nothing could be further from the truth. While alcohol was responsibly served with strict identification enforcement, it was a place for friends, OSU alumni, family, and business associates to gather, reunite, and celebrate football Saturdays in the center of the college football universe, Columbus, Ohio.

There are many on the losing end of this proposition starting with the loyal staff of the Holiday Inn. Some of these folks have been with the hotel for over 20 years, and now find themselves without a job in the worst economy this country has seen in a very long time. Also, there are many charities that benefited from Hineygate which will now have to find other sources of revenue this year. WTVN and the Holiday Inn donated over $600,000 to date to help these hard working organizations that helped children.

Finally, for you the loyal OSU football fan, your options before and after the game are now significantly reduced. Your tradition of meeting old classmates and watching the Danger Brothers at Hineygate at the Holiday Inn, is over.

There were many behind the scenes benefits to Hineygate that you might not be aware of, such as the relief of traffic flow before and after the games. Hineygate was a diversion and staggered the arrival and departure of several thousand cars every Saturday. Our on-air efforts in encouraging early arrival to the campus area were repeatedly lauded by the Columbus Division of Police.

Also, the fine Columbus Police officers working Hineygate and Lane Avenue would use the Holiday Inn as a headquarters of sorts to come in and use the restroom, grab a snack and a bottle of water, and communicate with management and staff about the happenings on street level.

In fact CPD has told WTVN and the Holiday Inn that Hineygate was the most well-run and well-behaved event on Lane Avenue with the fewest amount of incidents game-to-game and year-to-year.

610 WTVN’s Hineygate was a part of the fabric of Ohio State Football and gameday Saturdays for 26 years! The Holiday Inn on Lane Avenue was the home for this fine tradition and a significant element of Columbus pop culture. We are saddened to see both leave us now. On behalf of everyone involved with Hineygate, I thank you for your unwavering support over the years. It means more than you know.

Just remember as one door closes, another will inevitably open. Stay tuned…

Mike Elliott
Program Director -
610 WTVN

I've been a Hineygate Rat since returning to Ohio in 2001, and Mrs. KintlaLake became my partner-in-partying less than a week after we met in 2005. We've made many friends there. We've used Hineygate to introduce our spawns to adult entertainment, and we've celebrated four straight home wins over Michigan in that crowded, beer-soaked Holiday Inn parking lot.

Twenty-six years is a helluva run for any tradition, but this one is dying far too young.

We're holding out hope, perhaps somewhat foolishly, that Hineygate will relocate and not simply vanish. Like the man said, stay tuned.